Don't Worry, Rejection Is Not the End of Your B School Dream

There are only two possible outcomes for MBA applicants: admission or rejection. (If you’re waitlisted, that’s an interim phase to be addressed. But more on that later.)

The good news is that the latter of those two outcomes need not be permanent. Within months of being rejected, you can be right back in the game with a reapplication to the same school and/or a fresh app to another program. However, it’s essential to do some analysis to make sure that you’re maximizing your chances for admission the next time.

An immediate obstacle and frustration is that rejected applicants rarely receive any feedback from the admissions committee. The “official” reason is that there is not enough time for the adcom to debrief every disappointed applicant, so they don’t do it for anyone. However, the unstated reason is that the schools are reluctant to provide specific insights that would reveal too much about their overall decision process or imply that if the rejected applicant does “X” then he or she will be admitted the next time. No one is ever told “don’t reapply.”

So, most rejected applicants are left to ponder the following six questions on their own:

  1. Was I realistic in targeting the schools to which I applied?
  2. Did I showcase my strengths and mitigate my weaknesses?
  3. Did I apply before my candidacy was truly competitive?
  4. Did I explain what the school and other students would gain by admitting me this year?
  5. Did I convince them I would accept their offer and enroll if offered admission?
  6. What more or different could I have done to improve my chances?

Since most applicants are not experienced in the admissions process, those questions can be very difficult to answer with certainty. Even speaking with current students and alumni is of little value since their understanding of what it takes to gain admission is very limited. The fact is that they really don’t know why they were admitted to some schools and not to others.

That’s why The MBA Exchange has developed a comprehensive “ding analysis” that thoroughly examines rejected applications and considers the results of our 3,500 past clients over 18 years. They know which profiles have been admitted and which have been rejected at each of the leading schools. They use this background to address all of the key questions that can help reapplicants improve their chances for success the second time around.

So, if your first attempts at achieving MBA admission resulted in rejection, there’s no need to assume that you can’t or won’t achieve a better outcome. Understanding exactly what you did right, what you did wrong, and what you can do to improve your candidacy is the next move.